Sunday arvos are the hardest


THIS weekend was tough. The 20 minutes an acquaintance spent trying to find me a girlfriend was a bad start and it went downhill from there. Afterwards I was chatting to a friend whom I told about my SSA nine years ago about this experience and he still doesn’t get it. Not that it’s his fault. I’ve never really unpacked what it’s like to be me dealing with this and he hasn’t asked. This was followed by a stressful morning at church on the sound desk and then all afternoon and evening by myself. Something that happens a bit, but usually I’m so busy every other day that it’s a break rather than a reminder of being alone.

The hardest was the uncomfortable 20 seconds of silence after my friend asked me if I had some attraction to women these days and I said no. I don’t blame him or me. It’s just hard. I want to be understood; known; loved. But I’m not very good at self-disclosing or discussing my internal issues at a level that other people can understand. I feel silly and self-conscious and pained. Saying ‘sometimes Sunday afternoons are hard’ makes me feel weak and needy as if I want people to text me or something and invite me to do something. But I don’t want them to feel an obligation just because I’ve put that out there. Then I have expectations that aren’t met about the level of understanding other people should have of me and it’s just hard and it makes me feel it’s easier and safer to do nothing.

The solution that tempts me is a coming out. Saying ‘I’m gay’ and while I don’t act on it it’s what I am. To acquaintances; to my church and to anyone else who asks me why I don’t have a girlfriend. It feels like a relief. Someone at church on Sunday prophesised that the walls of Jericho are going to come down for some people and I feel like this is my wall. It stops me from being free and me. I feel the wall is me.

Yet I worry it could offer a false hope. Being out promises a deep kind of being known that isn’t going to be the actual outcome. It tempts me with this, but more likely is not having this secret as an excuse anymore and still feeling the same issues underneath. Maybe there is greater hope in further transparency and explanation with the friends and family I have already told.

As I was lying on my couch on Sunday afternoon, I wondered if my desire to help others with SSA is because the expression of their issues makes me feel known. Like I’ve found a kindred spirit. Perhaps that’s why I sometimes wonder if so and so if gay and how I could help them. Perhaps I wouldn’t want to help them so much if I felt known and then I would be able to help them more.

My comfort on the weekend was a documentary that Jeff linked to: About 10 people share their stories relating to sexual identity and struggle over 90 minutes and it was soothing and calming to hear that I’m not the only one again. That this is a tough walk for many people.

Thankfully the afternoon didn’t end in porn or unhelpful emails to people I used to know, but I’m still chewing it over.

Really what I need is to head back to God. I feel like part of me is resisting throwing myself into Him again and saying ‘I want you and I trust you’.


The best time of the year

I feel as if I always say that it’s the best time of the year, but it always is. Things are good. It’s two years since I moved here and I feel more connected than I have in a while. Today anyway; when I posted three weeks ago I wasn’t feeling it. I heard the other day that you need to know someone for a couple of years before you can feel ‘close’ to them. Exceptions of course, but it feels true in my life.

Preaching at church last week went really well. One skill I’ve developed through teaching high school is being able to do some reading and thinking and then practise and then be able to pretty much repeat those thoughts word for word when presenting. It helps with audience connection being able to do it from memory.

I got so much positive feedback; it was crazy. Compliments always make me uncomfortable. I would hope I do a good job after spending numerous hours each week teaching for the past three years. Then I wonder; was it good because people had low expectations? I think too much sometimes. It is a good reminder why research says that praise is only effective for student learning if it is specific. I think non-general praise is good for socio-emotional reasons though.

Other things that have happened since last time include getting back on top of masturbation and enjoying life.